Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University Sign Combination Agreement

Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, president and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health, and PhilaU President Stephen Spinelli Jr., PhD, sign the Combination Agreement.

Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, president and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health, and PhilaU President Stephen Spinelli Jr., PhD, sign the Combination Agreement.

The Boards of Trustees of Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) and Philadelphia University (PhilaU) announced that they have entered into a Combination Agreement to enable the two universities to become one comprehensive university centered on professional education. Preparing students for the careers of the 21st century with an emphasis on scientific and applied research, design thinking and discovery, the combined university will focus on the future of education, the future of health and the future of work.

With the Combination Agreement, Thomas Jefferson University and Philadelphia University will take the next steps toward finalizing this forward-thinking transaction. The Combination Agreement brings together a leading health sciences university, home to the storied, 192-year-old Sidney Kimmel Medical College, and a 132-year-old university with excellence in design, architecture, textiles, fashion and business. The transaction is expected to be complete in 2017, pending all required regulatory and accrediting agency approvals, including the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

“If anyone asks themselves, why would an almost 200-year-old health sciences university merge with a rapidly growing university that has excelled in design and innovative education… It’s because together we can reimagine a new kind of education for the jobs of the future,” said Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, president and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health. “It’s the start of a revolution in how students are taught, in how we provide greater value in more customized offerings, and in the recognition that design and healthcare are inextricably linked.” Klasko will be president and CEO of the combined university and Jefferson Health.

PhilaU President Stephen Spinelli, Jr., Ph.D., will lead the combined university as chancellor in partnership with Mark Tykocinski, MD, executive vice president of academic affairs and dean of the Sidney Kimmel Medical College, who also will serve as vice chancellor and provost of the combined university. “The combination of our two universities into one will enable us to enhance the value we offer our students and our faculty so they can deliver even more value to society,” Spinelli said. “Our graduates have deep expertise in their own fields and a fluency across disciplines that empower them to be leaders and innovators. They are prepared to exceed the expectations of 21st-century employers and patients.”

The boards of Thomas Jefferson University and Philadelphia University unanimously approved the signing of the Combination Agreement, which states that at the launch of the combined university, its structure will include all TJU colleges and all PhilaU colleges operating as a single accredited, degree-granting institution with a unitary governance structure.

“TJU is known for its world-class, inter-disciplinary health education and its pioneering work on healthcare team building. PhilaU is known for Nexus Learning, which brings together active and collaborative learning, connects it to the real world and infuses it with the liberal arts,” Tykocinski said. “Through our approach to education, research and discovery, our students and faculty will have the unique opportunity to design meaningful curricula and co-curricula for current and emerging professions that will positively impact their careers now and in the future.”

“As we move toward creating this model professional university, I am especially excited to be working with Dr. Klasko and Dr. Tykocinski, two of today’s most forward-thinking academic leaders,” said Spinelli. “The work they are spearheading to revolutionize medical education is a clear example of the kinds of curriculum changes that are needed to improve the value proposition for all stakeholders. It is just one of the reasons why the integration of PhilaU and TJU is such a good fit.”

A market research study is underway to inform a cohesive brand strategy and implementation plan for the new organization, taking into account the longstanding value and brand equity in each university.  This study is expected to be completed later this year.

When the integration is finalized, it will create Philadelphia’s fifth-largest university with enrollment of nearly 7,500 students (about equal numbers of undergraduate and graduate students with roughly half of total enrollment coming from each institution); campuses in East Falls and Center City, Philadelphia, as well as in Atlantic, Bucks and Montgomery Counties, providing students with urban and suburban experiences; and with a combined alumni base of 78,000.

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